I need to get better at making friends.
I have always had a fascination with motorcycle culture. As a child, I dreamt of zipping across the county in a beaten leather jacket on a bike and feeling the wind snap at my face.
In high school, I discovered my favorite author, Hunter S. Thompson. A man who towed the edges of society, one of his most well-known works, titled “Hells Angels- A Strange and Terrible Saga” details life on the road with the notorious outlaw bikers. Rift with brazen truth and burning detail, he sought to define the core essence of life in the liminal spaces of an M.C. I soaked up his twisted and vulgar prose and digested it to my core, melded it to my being. I craved that danger-seeking lifestyle juxtaposed with one of freedom and detachment.
To this day I adorn a biker-type style: leather jackets and boots, old Harley Davidson t-shirts.
I’m not entirely sure what the draw is, perhaps it’s a sense of being easily transient, a life of constant journey and movement. I often find myself feeling stuck both in the physical and emotional realms of my life. Usually when this stickiness hits my first instinct is to hop in my car and drive and get lost. This is not an act of escapism, not entirely at least. Moreso, I think of it as an act of active contemplation, being able to lose myself and do a deep dive into myself. Introspection with an engine.
And then there’s the thrill seeker in me, the restless adrenaline junkie craving the next big fix. The idea of being in constant danger just enough to make everything all the more heightened and experiential. The hot rush of emotion that follows a close encounter, heaving me back to reality and back to security.
I found my chance at an Arts and Crafts festival one year. While aimlessly roaming around tables of handmade goods I stumbled across a table unlike the others. It’s black tablecloth first caught my eye, something inappropriate for a bright and cheerful atmosphere. It’s inhabitants- a group of older men and a few women, maybe 7 or 8 total. The men’s beards were wiry and peppered, their skin wrinkled and rough. I found myself standing in a trance before a bonafide motorcycle club.
I was greeted by the eldest of the bunch, who’s calm and reassuring smile seemed out of order for such a motley crew. He asked me about my day, and what brought me toward their table. I didn’t have a real reply, I was a tad star struck from seeing these caricatures walking about in real life and not on a page in a book or on a screen.
“If you stick around long enough maybe we can find you a decent man for your life”
I was instantly transported to an image of two bikes ripping through rusty deserts. A mechanical union not bred from conformity or tradition. I was enthralled.
I made several attempts (against the concerns of family and friends) to interview them out of journalistic curiosity. I wanted- still want- to follow in the footsteps of my late idol (minus the drugs and booze).
I was never able to land the interview sadly, I perhaps lacked the veracity and backing of traditional media to justify an in-depth look into motorcycle culture. But that doesn’t detract from the fact that the desire still blazes on.
One day I will get my shot, and you best believe that once I get it, I’m going to “buy the ticket and take the ride”.